Warning: Spoiler Alert
Nobody puts Cameron Howe in the corner. The creator of Mutiny took control of her destiny on the penultimate episode of season two for the AMC Network’s Original Series “Halt And Catch Fire,” and she created quite a mess in the process. The good news, she got vengeance on those who were out to do her wrong, but she lost some key allies along the way. There’s also a burning question that got left on the table, were the feelings she showed for Joe MacMillan sincere, or was she in fact just manipulating him?
Giving a nod to the fact the show takes place in Texas, the episode opens with Donna Clark and Cameron working off their angst on a firing range. The women are trying to come to grips with the fact that Western-Group Industries hijacked Mutiny’s chat-network Community. The guy who replaced Joe at Western-Group Jesse Evans, took control of Mutiny’s network. He replaced the Mutiny logo with one reading West-Net and cut Mutiny off from receiving any revenue.
Donna tells Cameron they’ve got six grand in the bank, which would be enough to buy time on a new network, if they stop paying the Coder-Monkeys again. Howe says they can’t stop paying them again and suggests they try selling their new game Extract And Defend, to a game manufacturer.
Sara and Joe are asleep in bed fully clothed, after their drug-filled night, when the phone rings. It’s Gordon asking if Joe would come down and pick him up from jail and drive Clark to his car. We witness the last few seconds of the car ride, as the two men are silent. Joe pulls up and asks Gordon if he’s okay and Clark thanks him for his help. Joe tells Gordon to head straight home and clean himself up. Gordon shakes his hand and tells MacMillan to get on that plane to California, without looking back.
Tom Rendon walks into Cameron’s room and asks if it’s true, that she’s selling defend and extract? She says they need to in order for the company to survive. She then tells him to go get breakfast for anyone whose awake and he responds sarcastically and leaves the room.
Gordon shaved off his beard and drives to a parking garage, clutching the ad from JGL Computers. He gets to the building and rings the bell, a security guard comes to the door asking if he can help him. Gordon asks if this is the location of JGL Computers and the guard asks who wants to know? Gordon says his name’s Jim Clark and he’s looking for a job. The guard tells them, they went out of business and left the building the previous Friday. Gordon thanks him and heads back to the garage.
Donna meets with Jesse Evans in a function room at Western-Group and gives him Mutiny’s financial proposal to not take Western-Group to court. Evans doesn’t even pretend to show her any respect and basically laughs at her and tells her good luck. Clark says she’ll contact all the tech writers and Evans tells her they’ll all soon be there, as West-Net called them for this unveiling announcement, two weeks earlier. He says they’ll just look at anything Donna says as sour-grapes. She says that holding hands with Joe MacMillan always leads to bad-things, Evans asks her why she believes that Joe was involved in taking over their network?
Gordon’s feeling great after learning that JGL, no longer exists. However that feeling of happiness soon dissipates as he can’t find his car in the garage. He goes from floor to floor, but he doesn’t see it anywhere and then he starts to panic and he gets confused.
Jacob Wheeler arrives at Joe and Sara’s apartment, with a bon-voyage present. Sara tells him it’s beautiful and he says they’ll love California, it’s the land of second chances. He then asks if he can have a word with Joe and they head to where Wheeler’s parked his car. Joe says he hopes Jacob doesn’t think his present will keep Joe silent that he stole intellectual property. Wheeler says of course he realizes that, Joe’s far too emotional to be easily placated.
MacMillan threatens to go public, saying ten words from him could cause Western-Group’s stock to drop like a stone. Jacob says that Joe doesn’t want to do that, without Western-Group on his resume, it looks like Swiss-Cheese. MacMillan says he’s willing to take the chance and Wheeler asks him what about Sara? He then invites Joe to attend the share-holders meeting, he can make new connections and part friends. MacMillan says they’re not friends they’re related and Jacob will be a stranger to his grandchildren.
John comes into Cameron’s room wearing a suit, she says he’s looking sharp. He asks her what the drawings on her desk are and she gets very animated and tells Bosworth it’s her design for the new Community Network. John says he’s got to take off, Cameron asks if he wanted to discuss something. The look in his eyes says yes, but he tells her no.
Gordon’s still looking for his car and somehow he’s ended up in a restricted area. A janitor tells him he’s not allowed there and Gordon says he’s having trouble finding his car. The maintenance-worker asks what section he parked in and Clark responds he thinks it was 5-F. The man says it must be 5-E and tells him the stairwell’s right where Gordon’s heading. Clark just stands there, until the man asks if he’s okay, then Gordon says he’s fine and starts walking away.
Cameron, Donna and Bosworth are sitting in the lobby of a startup game manufacturer named Funtime. Clark asks why they’re meeting with these people and Cameron says out of all the cold-calls they made, they’re the only company that called them back. A young nerdy guy comes out to meet them, there are two older guys sitting at a conference table, but the guy ushers them into this cramped little office.
Sara tells Joe she thinks that he should attend the shareholders meeting. She says her father will never expect him to accept the invitation and it could help him in his future in California. She says perhaps something good will come out of this horrible situation.
The trio from Mutiny are presenting the game to the nerdy guy and this young red-headed woman. The guy loves the game, but the woman says that production costs maybe too high for them. We then realize their just gophers, as the guy’s summoned to get coffee for the two guys at the table while the woman answers the phone in Japanese. Donna quietly suggests they leave, but Boz looks over at the guys at the table and tells them to give him a minute.
John walks over to the table and asks the nerdy guy to give them some alone time and one of the guy’s nods. Bosworth says it looks like they’ve got a strong operation, but one thing their backers in Japan are going to want to do, is to put some games made in this country into their inventory. He then brings up the fact that Toyota produces cars in Fremont, California, so they can say made in the USA.
The trio walk back into Mutiny headquarters with sullen faces, until Donna shows the Coder-Monkeys the check for 50-grand. She says that’s enough to get them a new network and keep everybody getting paid. The Coder-Monkeys are ecstatic, they chant Mutiny and pick up the chair Donna’s sitting in and carry her around the room. Cameron just walks to her room and shuts the door.
Gordon’s still looking for his car and he heads down a stairwell, but trips on the first step and falls down the cement stairs in a heap. His right leg’s hurt, he tries to stand up but can’t put any pressure on the leg, so he sits down on the floor and starts screaming for help.
Tom heads into Cameron’s room and he asks her if she’s upset, but she says she feels more clear-headed than she’s felt in a while. She then basically tells him their romantic relationship’s over, that she got too happy and complacent and she let her guard down and it hurt Mutiny. Rendon tells her that happiness isn’t a side-effect, it’s what everybody’s shooting for.
She says it’s her fault and she caused this, he responds it’s Joe MacMillan that caused this, not her. He then says she used him, she made him believe in what they were doing and she made him believe that what they had was real. He says he thinks that she’s a lot more like Joe than she cares to admit.
MacMillan’s on the stage at the shareholder’s meeting, checking out one of the terminals when Jesse Evans walks up and sarcastically asks if Joe needs some help, as the program’s real technical. He then says scoring the keynote address at the shareholder’s meeting’s a great wedding gift. Joe tells him to get off the stage before he pushes him off. Evans tells him that a reporter wanted to have a word with him, she says she’s an old friend, it’s Cameron and the two head into one of the offices.
He asks if she came there to embarrass him in front of the shareholders and she replies she sees there’s no need. He says he’s heading to California, she asks with his fiancée and he says with my wife. Cameron then says that she knows that Joe didn’t have anything to do with hijacking Community and she wanted to make sure he knew that before he left.
She says somebody close to her asked why she thinks that Joe’s still part of her life? She then asks if he ever thought about what would have happened if instead of obsessively going after their separate projects they had held onto each other? She then walks over to him and says that she must be mental, cause part of her wants him to stay. He starts to say you have no idea, when she puts her hands on his face and kisses him. They start passionately kissing, when Joe stops and says I can’t do this Cameron. She giggles and says you can do what ever you want, you’re Joe MacMillan. He gently pushes her off him and she says she’s sorry.
She starts to walk out of the office, when she stops and takes a floppy-disc out of her raincoat pocket. She hesitates at first but then walks over to the desk he’s sitting at, puts down the disc and says this is what could have been, then she walks out. Evans walks into the office and asks Joe if he’s ready for a final run-through and MacMillan asks him to give him a minute. He inserts the floppy into one of the terminals and the landing page shows up on his monitor, with the Mutiny logo on it. Below the display’s a message that reads For Joe, Always C. MacMillan smiles and tells Evans he’s ready.
The hall’s now filled with all the shareholders and Jacob Wheeler welcomes them all and says he hopes they all got a chance to check out the terminals. He then says their likely asking why an energy company’s fooling around with computers? He says he wants to introduce the man that conceived their grand plan, a man whose passion and excitement even convinced an old fossil like himself. My son-in-law Joe MacMillan.
Joe gets up from his seat in the audience next to Sara and takes the stage with confidence, coming off like an actor presenting a category on the Oscars telecast. From cave drawings to the funny pages, from stone tablets to the telephone, man’s desire to communicate with each other has existed throughout history. Now welcome to the printing-press, the newspaper and the telephone of tomorrow. With just a few keystrokes, we’ll be able to communicate with friends across the country. We’ll also make new friends based on shared interests.
The key of course is the interface, that……. At that point Joe lost it, struggling to find the words. When he finally found his voice he said that all started with a young programmer named Cameron Howe. I didn’t invent this or own this, or does anybody in this room. If we look past this fact we’re committing an injustice. Miss Howe couldn’t be here this evening, but her genius surrounds us. I’m sure it will continue to for many years to come. He walked back to his seat in silence and took Sara’s hand. Finally a voice said thank you Joe.
Gordon crawls backwards up the steps, makes it back to the floor he was on and crawls over to a truck and slams on the side. The janitor’s driving the truck. We then see Gordon carried out on a gurney, as he’s being wheeled out he finally finds his car.
Back at the shareholder’s meeting, Jesse’s about to demonstrate West-Net’s chat-rooms when suddenly each terminal starts emanating this extremely loud alt-rock. Jacob asks Evans what’s wrong and Jesse says he doesn’t know, suddenly the interface disappears, replaced by code.
We then see the word Sinorous starting to appear repeatedly on the screen and suddenly things start to become clear. Cameron destroyed the network with Gordon’ s Sinorous disc. The disc she gave to Joe contained the program and once it got inserted into a terminal, the process started. Joe suddenly realizes that Cameron set him up, seconds later Gabriel starts glaring at MacMillan.
Gordon’s in the ambulance and the EMT tells Clark to try to keep his ankle still and they’re almost at the hospital. All the fear and grief Gordon’s felt since he was told about his brain damage overtakes him and he starts crying in the ambulance.
Back at Joe’s apartment Donna and MacMillan are having a bad argument. She tells him she thought he was a genius and she was his second chance. But now she realizes, he’s an accident that becomes part of people’s lives that deserve better. He says he’s not an accident, he deserves better and he deserves her. She loses it, starts pounding on his chest in frustration. She says she just wishes he knew what she’s experiencing, that she dies a little each time he says Cameron’s name, because of the way his face looks. She then tells him to say her name and he can’t, she tells him he’s lost and leaves.
Gordon and Donna are in the hospital room when Clark’s doctor comes in and asks to speak to Donna. Dr. Semel tells Donna, that it wasn’t Gordon’s brain-damage that caused this incident. He’s having psychological problems handling his diagnosis. Donna goes back to the bed and tells her husband he’ll be spending the night in the hospital, he says he knows he needs help.
Cameron finds out from the young woman at Funtime that Tom set everything up for Mutiny to meet with them, they know each other from way-back and she says Rendon nearly broke her arm to get the meeting. Tom’s about to leave when Cameron asks him why he didn’t say anything and he says she already made her decision. She says he’ll come back tomorrow and they’ll start working on a new project, but he just leaves.
The Season Finale Airs Next Sunday Night at 10:00 pm on AMC.